Life Hacks for Parents: Tips to Survive Errands With Kids


You Are Not Alone

We’ve all been there. The list of places to go and things to accomplish that must also be done with little people in tow. On some days, the mere thought of doing this can evoke thoughts of running for the nearest bathroom, screaming to the universe, ”’PLEASE DON’T LET THEM FIND ME FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES so I can think/feel/cry by myself.” Like your own little internal temper tantrum.

If I hear one more mom tell me to take a breath and count to ten, I’m going to scream!

We all have different things that set us off, and usually it’s the buildup and the picture we have in our mind that sets the tone. Maybe for you it’s the never-ending, “Can I have this?” that has you wanting to run for the hills, or the “I need this!” demands that make you want to claw your eyes out. Maybe it’s the thought of getting those little people in and out, and in and out, and in and out, and in and out, and in and out of their car seats, at every single stop that just does you in.

Next time you’re out on one of those trips, try a tip below. Actually, before you try the tips below, first BREATHE. I know what you’re thinking. If I hear one more mom tell me to take a breath and count to ten, I’m going to scream! Before you scream, BREATHE. I noticed I hold my breath when I’m stressed and trying to control a situation that I have no control over. And let’s face it, these tiny humans we created, there ain’t no controlling what they’re going to say or do!

Tips for Running Errands With Kids

  1. When the whines begin and the requests start for wanting to get something, a toy for instance, respond with, “Great idea, let’s start a Christmas/Birthday list for next year!” You’ll be surprised at how well this works.
  2. Play “I Spy” through the grocery aisles. This can be done with colors and letters.
  3. Have them hold your list and play a game of letter recognition, or older ones can help sound out words.
  4. Story time; riding in that cart right in front of you can be the perfect time for a back and forth game of stories. You start one off, and then it’s their turn.
  5. “What ingredients do I need?” Tell the kids what you plan on making for meals, and have them fill in the blanks with ingredients. For instance, “mommy is making tacos tonight; we need meat and what else to make tacos?” They love being little helpers.
  6. Never underestimate the power of a snack. If your child is easily pacified with food, then use it to your advantage. Keep special ‘errand snacks’ in your bag.

BONUS TIP: if at all possible, make Trader Joe’s, Costco, Whole Foods and the like a part of your weekly trips. The samples and kiddie carts are worth it!

I hope one of these works for you, and if not, well maybe you at least enjoyed a little comic relief in knowing that you are NOT alone. And at the end of the day, errands are a part of life. Little ones need to know that, and they will thank you one day for including them.

We Want to Know!!

Do you have tips and tricks that make running errands a little less like a root canal and more rainbows and sunshine? Share them in the comments below.